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SMITH: Agag’s Extreme Vision

Sam Smith looks in to the latest visionary exploit of Formula E founder Alejandro Agag….

Photo: Formula E

Racing in the Himalayas, the Amazon, the Arctic?

As stories go, this one initially took some believing, but over the course of the last few months some good old detective work by e-racing365 proved that Alejandro Agag’s latest plans were not only ambitious but much more than just a PowerPoint presentation.

It soon became clear that plans were being put in place to entice manufacturers, initially those already within the Formula E paddock, to be part of something very different. Extreme E.

Whether or not the Extreme E plans had any bearing on the recent decision to postpone the electrification of the FIA World Rallycross Championship is open for debate.

The coincidence is certainly great but we are not to know if Agag’s powerful tentacles can dictate such things just yet.

The one thing about Agag which he has in his favor at the moment is a good relationship with manufacturers which have flocked to the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in recent years.

The unique way in which Formula E is structured and operates means that good cost-effective racing is just one of many boxes that are ticked for manufacturers.

The days of $150-$200 million budgets to go racing, outside of Formula 1 of course, are over. Now, not only has there to be a purpose in going racing, but there also has to be good return on investment.

Presently, Formula E has a lot of justified hype, as well as technical and marketing relevancy.

But anyone who has visited Audi, Porsche or Mercedes motorsport bases knows the capacity that exists within them. That capacity cannot be met or even approached by a single program such as Formula E.

This is where Agag is being especially clever.

He has realized that the manufacturers, while racing to budgetary limitations, also have the ability to commit to something else spectacular.

A championship that can hit headlines by competing in previously out-of-reach environments while simultaneously highlighting the environmental benefits of electric power certainly fits the bill.

Scientists and cosmologists often talk about perfect conditions for life on planets as the ‘Goldilocks’ theory.

This is where conditions are not too hot and not too cold for life to thrive. It’s probably a rather obtuse metaphor, yet it is one which fits Agag and his achievements well over the last five years.

This is because although the conditions have become favorable – even some of the things out of his control such as the ‘Dieselgate’ debacle – have gone his way.

Agag’s dreams and visions usually become reality, even if he sails precariously close to the wind sometimes.

In an industry such as motorsport, which attracts more than its fair share of dreamers and flaky individuals, Agag is that rare breed of credible visionary.

Whether he’s just riding the ‘Goldilocks effect’ of electrification in the sport at present is open to debate.

What we do know is that the momentum he has developed with Formula E has itself the capacity to open up whole new kinds of motorsport for the future.

In Extreme E, we could see an astonishing and ground-breaking spectacle become reality sooner rather than later.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. krisg

    August 31, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Electric SUVs are the ‘hot cake’ in the automotive industry today, every manufacturer has one in the pipeline (Audi Q8 e-Tron, BMW e-X3, Mercedes EQC, Tesla Model Y, Byton, Faraday Future FF91, SF Motors, NIO, you name it). And it can be very appealing for manufacturers to develop new technologies (wireless AWD systems, battery management in extreme condition, electronic chassis, and so on). And with new battery tech about to provide 600 miles of range with one charge, no reason why anyone competing would get constrained anywhere during the rally stages.

  2. Old Trombone

    September 1, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Where to race becomes the point? Too simplistic.

    HOW to get there – that’s the Extreme Vision. Let’s have championships ship themselves around in a ship! Sail/solar ship. Teams have workshops on board, and webcams can broadcast the engineers at work between races. The ship docks at port and autonomous electric trucks powered by the ship’s solar-fed batteries take the teams to the race destination. The teams’ families can live with them year-round, and the ship could have a school on board for the families’ kids, and when the ship is docked for a race that school could give lessons to local schools about green tech. All good!

    • Pepe Lotas Gordas

      September 10, 2018 at 7:52 am

      Not very appealing to work in that kind of thing.

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